A Texas court last week ruled that teenager Ethan Crouch must spend nearly two years in prison for killing four people in a drink-driving crash when he was 16. He had initially received a probationary sentence after his defence argued that he suffered from the psychological malaise, "affluenza".
To us, the departure from Egypt looks like a victorious conclusion to centuries of slavery and the story of the Ten Plagues. Broken by the death of their firstborn, the Egyptians pressed their wealth on the Jews and begged them to leave. The Jews left in triumph; not even a dog barked at them as they left (Exodus 12).
There is an almost universal custom to place three pieces of matzah on the Seder table. In the list of instructions at the beginning of the Haggadah the three matzot are always mentioned. Judaica shops around the world sell plates with three sections for each of the matzot. So it might come as a surprise that it is not at all clear why one should have three pieces of matzah at the Seder.
Most people are extra-scrupulous when it comes to the kashrut of the Pesach products they buy, and the sight of Ashkenazi shoppers peering at labels to determine whether or not a particular foodstuff contains kitniot, legumes, has become a permanent feature of the run-up to Pesach.
Nevertheless, Ashkenazi frustration seems to grow more and more vocal with each passing year at what many perceive
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks's Not in God's Name is a masterpiece that should be read by all of us. The book is an essential and brilliant dissertation which combines the best of Jewish ethics, theology and vision in attempting to explain and extirpate the problem of religious and political extremism.
Did the events described in the Book of Esther really happen? In academic circles this question is described as a question of historicity and for more than a century scholars have expended large amounts of energy producing papers and books that say largely the same thing: no historical basis exists for the events in the Book of Esther.